NOTE: The following records may include some present-day Lincoln County, Tenn. and Limestone or Madison Counties, Ala.
Introduction: The county of Giles was not created until 1809/10, but its land settlement history goes back more than twenty years earlier: The earliest records of land in present-day Giles are from 1783, the year North Carolina passed the “Land Grab” Act. Many grantees were land speculators whose plans were thwarted the next year by the U.S. Government’s policies on the rights of the Indian nations. John Armstrong’s NC Land Office was open only nine months (Oct 1783-May 1784) and “officially” no whites settled in present-day Giles until 1805 (Early History of Giles…).
When Giles was created from Maury in 1809/10, most of the county (all of the southwest) was part of the Chickasaw Congressional Reservation. This did not change until after the 1816 Chickasaw Cession. The small [amount of] early Giles land was all in Surveyor’s District 2, with Districts 7 and 8 not created until 1819.
Ed. Note: Most of the early grantees were land speculators, and others veterans of the Revolutionary War. A few may have actually occupied the land entered, but these, if any, have not yet been identified.
Stateline and Elk River
North Carolina Land Entry No. 489: October 25, 1784. Samuel CUMMINS. 5,000 acres “lying on Elk River beginning where the southern boundary line crosses the Elk River running up said river on both sides for quantity.” Warrant: 10 Jul 1784.North Carolina Land Entry No. 1465: Feby 6, 1784. William JONES. 1,000 acres “in Green County on the north side of Elk River one of the water courses of Tennessee River beginning on the bank of said river at the upper corner of Samuel CUMMAN’S entry of 5000 acres near where the southern boundary of the state intersects the said Elk River thence up the said River for about one mile and an half so as not to intersect the lines of any former entry. Warrant: 10 Jul 1784.
North Carolina Land Entry No. 1468: Feby 7, 1784. John BRANCH. 5,000 acres “in Green County on Elk River one of the water courses of the Tennessee River beginning on the south side of the said Elk River a few miles from where the Southern Boundary of this State intersects the said river at the upper corner of Samuel CUMMINS’S Entry No. 489 of 5,000 acres thence up the said river for about 4 miles so as not to intersect the lines of any former entry.
Survey No. 1 for John McDONALD was 600 acres on both sides of Elk River, adjacent to Samuel CUMMING; DICKSON AND DAVIS; on S side of Elk River, DICKSON AND DAVIS; John SIMS; crossing Elk River; John SIMS; George W. CAMPBELL; Ford Creek; CAMPBELL; Rowland McKINNEY; McKINNEY; Elk River. (19 Jul 1824) Survey No. 101 was made 3 Jul 1824 for Edward DAVIS, 160 acres on Wells Creek of Elk River, adjacent to Samuel CUMMING old Grant, on his W boundary line in Elk River, with same N at N bank of river, his corner; Francis McGAVOCK; McLEMORE; reservation line; bluff of river; E at Elk River. (1 Feb 18). Survey No. 30 made 5 Jul 1824 for Thomas BROWN was 200 acres on a ridge between Ford’s & Wells Creek; adjoining reservation line; adj. A. V. BROWN; Mrs. MAPLE; reservation line; a ridge; William BROWN. (28 Jan 182-) The most southern point of the Congressional Reservation Line in Giles was at that point where the Elk River crosses into Tennessee.
Near State line and Elk River
North Carolina Land Entry No. 1922: April 24, 1784. Samuel LOCKHARD. 3,000 acres “on the south side of Elk River nearly opposite to the above entry No. 1921 beginning one hundred poles above the upper corner of the above tract & running down the river including a large cane brake for quantity.” Warrant: April 24, 1784.North Carolina Land Entry No. 1921: April 20, 1784. Samuel LOCKHARD. 2,000 acres “lying on the No. side of Elk River near the Southern Boundary of this state about one mile below where the Commissioners and Guard first came to Elk River beginning at the upper end of a cane break where Elijah ROBINSON and others lay in wait for some Indian Horses running down the said river for quantity.” Warrant: 30 Nov 1784. Grant No. 2880: 1788.
North Carolina Land Entry No. 1442: Jany 27, 1784. Thomas TALBOT. 2,000 acres “lying on Elk River beginning on the river bank below where there is a great crossing place of Indians where Julius SANDERS & others crossed running no. & Et for compliment.” Added: “This entry withdrawn & the indents apply to the payment of No. 1927” [Flatt Creek of Duck River]. Warrant: None.
North Carolina Land Entry No. 2288: May 25, 1784. Robert LANIER. 2,000 acres “on Elk River joining and above Thos. TALBOT’S Entry which is number 1442.” Warrant: 30 Nov 1784.
North Carolina Entry No. 490: October 25, 1783. John MARR. 1,000 acres “in Green County on Elk River near the southern boundary of the state including a tree marked thus H on the North side of sd river running the river and including the mouth of a creek for compliment.” Warrant: 10 Jul 1784.
A Giles deed between Alexander M. BURFORD and David WHITT, dated 10 Sep 1835, states that the tract was “on the waters of Short Creek on the South side of Elk River…” and refers to the “boundary line of Samuel LOCKHARTS 3000 acre tract.” Survey No. 256 (21 Apr 1831) for Jesse LAMB, refers to his land as adjacent to Samuel LOCKHART’s 3,000 acre survey on the South bank of Elk River (LAMB’s tract also covered the north side of the river, mentioning Bradshaws Creek road and the land of Richard RIGHT [WRIGHT]. Janell McCann adds that “Samuel LOCKHART of Northampton Co., N.C. was granted 5000 A for his Revolutionary War service. The land was claimed and awarded to his heirs. On 7 Jan 1824 Robert LOCKHART sold his 1/3 share in Lot 34 in Elkton to Nicholas and Samuel FAIN which had been deeded to the three by James BRIGHT of Lincoln Co., TN.” James BRIGHT may have been the Surveyor of the same name.
Mouth of Richland
North Carolina Land Entry No. 626: October 27, 1783. Isaac PRICE. 1,000 acres “in Green County at the mouth of Richland Creek being the waters of Elk River beginning on the bank of the River then up the said creek including the land on both sides of the creek for compliment.” Warrant: 10 Jul 1784.
Isaac PRICE’s 1,000 acres at “mouth of Richland” is listed on the 1813 Giles List of Unpaid Taxes.
Richland Creek of Elk River
(Most of Richland (aka Smiths) Creek is in Surveyors District 2. The following land records are in Surveyors’ District 2, Range 1, Section 1, Civil District 3)
North Carolina Land Entry No. 643: October 28, 1783. Elijah WITT. 400 acres “on a creek of Elk River known to some by the name of Smiths Creek and to others by the name of Richland Creek beginning at the upper corner of William RAINEY. Entry made on the sd creek near where Wm. LOGGINS and Fredrick STUMPS mares was killed.” Warrant: 10 Jul 1784. Grant: (not located)North Carolina Land Entry No. 425: October 25, 1783. William RAINEY. 4,000 acres “on Smiths Creek a branch of Elk River beginning near where William LOGINS and Frederick STUMPS mares was killed by the Indians and running up both sides of said creek for compliment.” Warrant: 10 Jun 1784. Grant: Middle District No. 2835: William RAINEY. 1788. Richland Creek on the waters of the Elk River.
North Carolina Land Entry No. 532: October 27, 1783. Stockely DONELSON. 5,000 acres “on Richland Creek a branch of Elk River joining William RAINEYS lower line on sd creek thence running down both sides of the creek for compliment. No. 487 withdrawn in favour of this entry.” Warrant: 10 Jul 1784
John CASH’S Survey No. 10 on 10 May 1828 lists his land as adjacent John GARLAND and DONELSON in Range 1, Section 1. Survey No. 290 for Jeremiah BARNES, dated 16 Mar 1846, lists his land as in Rng. 1, Section 2 of Civil District 3, adjacent to Stokely DONALDSON and James HANNAH. Survey No. 300 for James HANNA, 16 Mar 1846, is in Range 1, Section 2, Civil District 3, adjacent to Stokely DONALDSON and George W. KELLY. Survey No. 394 for George W. KELLY, dated 10 Feb 1847, was in Range 1, Section 1, Civil District 3, adjacent to “Stokley DONALDSON 5,000 A survey.” Survey No. 419 for James PULLY, dated 23 Jan 1846, was in Range 1, Section 1, Civil District 3, adjacent to Albert BALL; Stokley DONELSON; and W. W. CALHOUN. Albert BALL’S Survey No. 461 of 18 Jan 1848 was in Range 1, Section 1, C.D. 3, and adjacent to James PULLY; DONALSON; BALL; Robert J. HARRIS, and the Congressional Reservation line.
Most of District 2 had been closed to settlement prior to the 1805 and 1806 Chickasaw and Cherokee cessions, and only a portion of the northwestern diagonal of Giles was in District 2, whose description includes “…to begin eighteen miles west of the south-east corner of the last mentioned district [1st], to run south to the true meridian, to the southern boundary of the State, for its eastern boundary, and to be bounded on the west and south, by the Congressional Reservation, and on the north and south, by the first district and the boundary of the State…” (Tennessee’s Early Surveyors’ Districts…) District 2 was surveyed in 1807 by Bright (faulty) and in 1808/9 by Freeman. (ibid. and Early History of Giles, 1765-1820)
Giles’ land warrants have been located in what later became District 2 as early as 1803 (and possibly earlier) in Williamson County (parent county of Maury):
Survey No. 1173 (Sidebar: Returned 29th Oct 1808) State of Tennessee Second District By virtue of an entry No. 4 for 44 acres dated the 10th day of December 1808 founded on a Warrant No. 110 for 100 acres issued to Howel TATUM by the Secretary of this State on the 31st day of January 1803 I have surveyed for Howel forty four acres of land situate in the Second District in Maury County. Beginning at a Walnut and Lynn in TATUMS corner running West one hundred and six poles to a pappaw sapling said TATUMS corner thence South sixty four poles and fifty eight-hundredths of a pole to an Elm Hickory and large White Oak thence east one hundred and twenty poles to an Ironwood and Hickory on the line run by Mr. BRIGHT as the congressional line thence North five and one half Degrees West with said line sixty six poles to the beginning. Surveyed July 30th 1808
David LOUR &
Evan LOUR C.C.
Nathan G. PINSON D.S.
Examined and correctness ascertained
Transmitted to Registers Office 4th Apl 1809
Survey No. 1175 (Sidebar: Returned 29th Oct 1808) State of Tennessee Second District By virtue of an entry No. three dated the 10th day of December 1808 founded on a Warrant No. 94 for 88 1/2 acres issued to Howel TATUM by the Secretary of this State on the 7th day of January 1803 I have surveyed for Howel eighty eight and one half acres of land situate in the Second District in Maury County. Beginning at a Dogwood said TATUMS corner of the fractional Section of the first range running West eighty eight poles to a sugar tree Marked (T.T.) thence south one hundred and forty six poles to a pappaw sapling thence East one hundred and six poles to a Walnut and Lynn on the supposed reservation linethence north five and one half degrees West with said line to the beginning. Surveyed July 31st 1808
David LOUR & Evan LOUR C.C.
N. G. PINSON D.S.
Examined and correctness ascertained
Transmitted to Registers Office 4th Apl 1809
(Abstracted from TSLA microfilm RG50, Roll 32 by Researcher Frederick Smoot who adds: C.C. = Chain carrierl D.S. = District Surveyor. This roll contains surveys Nos. 1036 through 2559. Most are not of the Maury/Giles area.)
Note the Early History references to and map of the “false” (supposed) Congressional Reservation Line of 1806-7. Later land entries indicate the above land may have been near the head of Indian Creek.
District 7 was described as “…beginning on the southern boundary of the State on the Congressional Reservation Line; thence north with the same, to a point equi-distant from said southern boundary line, to a point due east from the town of Columbia on said line, and from that point thus ascertained a due west course to the Tennessee River; thence up said river to the beginning…”
District 8 was described as “…that tract of country, lying south and west of the Congressional Reservation Line, and north of the Seventh District, and east of the Tennessee River…” The north boundary of this district is, for the most part, the Military Line (District 1).
Unlike District 2, which conforms with an 1806 Act of Congress requiring that each range and section (township) be six miles square, each range/section in Districts 7 and 8 is five miles square.
CITATIONSJohn ARMSTRONG’S North Carolina Land Entry Book, 1783-4, Irene M. Griffey, Certified Genealogist, 321 Holly Circle
Janell McCann’s Early Giles County Land Surveys, 1821-1849
Goldene F. Burgner’s North Carolina Land Grants, 1778-1791
Frederick Smoot’s Tennessee’s Early Surveyor Districts…
Nashville Clarion & State Gazette, 2 August 1814, reprinted Spring 1997 as “Land in Giles County On Block For Unpaid 1813 Property Taxes,” Ansearchin, Vol 44, No. 1, Spring 1997